Could Janet Yellen Break the Fed’s Glass Ceiling?

Aug 5, 2013 • Gender Issues, Money and Monetary Policy • 219 Views    No Comments

By Lilli DeBode, guest blogger, Kent Place School alumna and freshman at Columbia University

In January, chairman of the Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke is going to step down. The Obama administration has yet to choose his successor, but they’ve narrowed it down to three: Larry Summers, Donald L. Kohn, and Janet Yellen.

Yes, a woman is being interviewed! And not only is she in the running, but she’s considered the frontrunner!

Yellen was the head of the Council of Economic Advisors for two years, she led the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank for six years, and she has been Bernanke’s Vice Chairman since 2010. Just to add a little more information about this incredibly qualified woman, Yellen, unlike Summers, had played no part in causing the 2008 financial crisis.

A chairwoman of the Federal Reserve in 2014– sounds too good to be true, right? Unfortunately, yes, it probably is.

Many people are campaigning against her (for legitimate, un-sexist reasons, of course). Just kidding… they’re completely sexist.

Ezra Klein of the Washington post shares some of the concern he has stumbled across during conversations with the monetary-policy community: “She lacks “toughness.” She’s short on “gravitas.” Too “soft-spoken” or “passive.” Some mused that she is not as aggressively brilliant or intellectually probing as other candidates — though they hasten to say she’s clearly very knowledgeable about monetary policy. Others have wondered whether she could handle the inevitable fights with Congress”.

These “whisper campaigns” against her have no validity (she hasn’t had problems with her “toughness” in her previous positions), but they are starting to really stack up. Although Yellen is the logical choice, sadly it looks like Obama is probably going to go for Summers.

Sources and resources: For Ezra Klein’s article, click here. For more information about the three candidates, click here. For more on Yellen, click here.

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